Hey, Hackers! I’m Oleg, executive @ Evrone.com
First of all, a huge thanks to the HackerNoon community and staff for nominating me for a 2021 Noonies award!
It’s a big honor to be nominated for HackerNoon Contributor of the Year - Management, in the technology category: https://noonies.tech/award/2021-hackernoon-contributor-of-the-year-management
Please check out this award page and vote.
It has been a truly amazing year for the software technology sector, and it’s hard to name one innovation, in particular, that excites me most since everything about technology and management excites me. Both, if done right, create tremendous value through new products, tools, and processes. As a software development industry professional, I’d love to share my thoughts, experiences, and my journey in the tech industry, via the interview below.
These are great questions to start with. I remember going through these questions during my first trip to Silicon Valley, back in 2012, where we were learning about the industry culture and the way entrepreneurs were building companies. Since then, I have helped founders and tech leaders challenge markets by creating new approaches and better processes through technology products. Together, we co-create the solutions that are the right fit for each individual use case.
I believe that software is designed to create wealth (don’t confuse that with richness), improve the lives of millions of people, and create new markets. These are the great opportunities we all encounter in this technology age, and I feel really lucky to be here with like-minded individuals chasing their dreams, whatever it takes.
We are a very developer-friendly organization, and the software developer community always comes first. In fact, it took some time before I was able to figure out how to run this business, and I think I made lots of mistakes and maybe lost some deals, but I’ve never compromised on a single thing that relates to the community of software engineers.
Today, the community of software engineers heavily relies on open-source software, and we encourage our engineers to contribute to open-source anytime they have a chance to do so. This is paid work, because open-source software is the only reason we exist.
In my day-to-day job, I manage software development projects for our clients in the United States, and I am in charge of operations that are essential for delivering great results. All of us here have entrepreneurial mindsets, so wearing other hats to help out with marketing and sales is always on my agenda. I spend a hefty portion of my day researching new markets and creating business development initiatives. Lots of things just don’t work, but some do. In fact, the way to find what works lies in finding out what doesn’t work.
Management is always interesting. It puts messy things into the proper order, and — for a service company — great service is everything. It’s not always that simple; you don’t just take things that look not-in-order and make them look great. Sometimes, you have to run a broken process and improve it over time, making it more efficient. It’s like the software that you cannot just throw out of the application, because your operations would stop. Instead, you focus on improving it over time. And the good things take time. You need to have the patience to gain meaningful achievements.
Management is multifaceted. It’s good that there are so many choices and you can find whatever works best for your business, but sifting through the variety of options can be a time-consuming process.
I always ask myself the same question. Am I in the right place? For entrepreneurs, there is always 80% of the job that doesn’t seem sexy, and that’s okay. Many successful entrepreneurs say they are successful because they refused to quit. I believe it when people share their genuine feelings, and I always set the bar high for the things I want to achieve.
In the past, I ran a few startups, and that definitely gave me perspective about software and what it can do. After some time, I was at the point to make my next move, and since software was something that I was still interested in, I joined Evrone to see where it could get me. But, technically, I never left the startups, and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.
Working alongside the startup and enterprise communities and building software for them gives lots of perspective into trends and the way development and management work. But more importantly, it gives me good friends. The software design and development industry is broad and can evolve into a few other adjacent businesses — not just service businesses, but also product or venture capital businesses. Just look at the venture studios.
To say “I like it” is insufficient — “I love it” is the right way to say it.
My outlook is typically broader, and almost all technologies excite me equally. But there is always something exciting that I can do with a particular technology right now, or a technology I’m just observing from a distance, as I don’t have a particular need or use for it right now.
It’s not that we’re designing software using just one technology or programming language. It used to be that way back in the day, but now it’s a combination of technologies. You don’t just build a Ruby on Rails application, you also run it on AWS, maybe use Kubernetes, deploy the code through CircleCI, and have Postgres in place.
But beyond these regular technologies, there are things like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and blockchain, for example. Those things are relatively new and still in their early days, but this is where the opportunities arise. In addition, they are solving particular needs.
Maybe it’s because I love the Burning Man community, I think blockchain technology is truly exciting. Let me explain. The Burn that was supposed to happen in 2020 was named Multiverse. And when the BMORG (Burning Man Organization) canceled it, due to Covid-19, people ended up running it on their own, at the same place (a little north of the original Black Rock city), building a small, 5,000-person village.
And then they ran it again the next year, in 2021, building a 20,000-person village — without centralized coordination, without organization — and it went well. Isn’t this a great analog (physical world) example of decentralization?
I think someone knew what to name that Burn that was supposed to be canceled … because that’s the only way to scale it. Blockchain gives that decentralization humanity needs to find a way to grow. I think we will see more great examples of blockchain technology improving the lives of people.
Yes, this is a topic that always needs to be discussed in a wider manner, as some technologies may be very troubling. A while back, we saw some scenarios in the movies. In fact, movie makers always work with futurologists that help to craft an image of what may happen in the future or what the world might look like.
What’s a common element in the Terminator and Resident Evil movies? Right — AI or artificial intelligence. The Skynet (in Terminator) and Red Queen (in Resident Evil) were AIs that were supposed to kill humans, and this is not just a fantasy scenario. I think the movie futurologists did a really good job reflecting a possible future, and we’re stepping into that world very fast.
AI has a wide implementation these days. And while some of those applications look harmless, some need a thorough review before making them accessible for a wide audience. These things should be controlled and reviewed by diverse audiences around the world to ensure safety. In particular, AI should not make any assessments, conclusions, or perform actions in regard to people or individuals. It’s okay to use AI algorithms for particular use cases, but the wider neural network systems should be under strict control.
Technologies always have two sides, like a coin. They provide new opportunities, remove friction, and make things more accessible, but they’re always harming people in a way. Like Uber which gives great service to customers, but harms drivers and taxi dispatch firms. Same thing with AI and neural networks, in particular.
I’d invest it in businesses. A few startups, I think. I’d probably look to start my own and angel-invest in some other companies that are building SaaS software. Why? SaaS is pretty cool, and I like it because it is the most dynamic industry. SaaS is much easier to build and scale, as opposed to hardware, for example. And there are tons of things to build in SaaS for consumers and enterprises.
If you gave me another $10 million dollars, I’d probably look at industries like advanced materials, 3D printing, energy, and mixed reality (a combination of AR and VR).
I’m always learning and love good reading about business, management, and finance. Throughout the year, I may have a few topics in rotation, but I’m always learning about sales, business, and self-discipline. For example, every sales book that I’ve read has given me a good piece of thought that I’ve implemented in management and business. They also give me some ideas of what to try next, what new approaches to go after, and what new markets and businesses are out there.
But there is also always something I learn to stay creative. I always need some creativity in business to make things a little more fun. In order to stay creative, you’ve got to do something creative. For me, playing music works out pretty well, however, I don’t have that much time to do it in a consistent manner. Probably, that’s for retirement, haha …
Listening to advice is dangerous, and it is even more dangerous to give one. I’ll put it another way — giving your opinion on a certain situation seems safer. An opinion gives an individual room to make their own choice, and in this way, it feels more like their decision. If I want to give advice, I make sure the decision the person makes is, ultimately, their own choice, made at their own discretion.
Sometimes I do give advice to people I know really well. One piece of advice, in particular, is that people sometimes worry about things they’ve done in the past or about things that may happen in the future, but this just doesn’t make sense, because it takes you away from Here and Now.
Being in the here and now ultimately gives you an opportunity to respond in the best way to any given input from the world surrounding you. The past has gone, and the future doesn’t exist; the only things that matter are Here and Now.
I network and talk to lots of business folks, and this is one of my top interests. It’s always a challenge to get through the dark side of things, and you may not know exactly how to pull things off. You try to do many things, simultaneously, to move the needle, but things may not pay off. A really simple framework that works for me, and that came as advice, is that: in business, two things move you forward — other people’s money and other people’s time.
Another one I love is: live your best life, it’s your time.
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